Sunset of the Ottomans

From the 14th through the early 20th century, the Middle East consisted of a hybrid civilization composed of various tribes and peoples stretching from the Balkans down through the Arabian Peninsula under the auspices of the Ottoman Empire. To its promoters, Constantinople administered a multicultural society that balanced ethnic and religious differences into a harmonious whole. To its detractors, the Ottoman regime was a decadent, degenerate ruling class that lived above the poverty of its servants and relied upon an endless supply of slaves to feed its military and royal harems. In the end, economic and political weakness led to the empire’s unraveling, as nationalism in the wake of the first world war broke the back of the empire and led it to the carve up into the modern Turkish state and the surrounding nations.

Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 240 – Sunset of the Ottomans

— Brought to you by —

Very special guest Borzoi

— References —

Lawrence of Arabia, Lean (1962)
The Sultans, Barber (1973)
Age of Empires II, Microsoft (1999)
The Ottoman Endgame, McMeekin (2016)
The Fall of the Ottomans, Rogan (2016)
Useful Enemies, Malcolm (2019)
The Ottomans, Baer (2021)

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Octavian says:

    > Age of Empires II, Microsoft (1999)

    Putting in the work. o7

    Look forward to listening to this soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rush YWNBAW says:

      This’ll be a good one, i can tell


  2. Lukash says:

    Looking forward to it! Does anyone know what are good histories to read about this?


  3. Anon says:

    To be fair the people’s of the former Byzantine empire were seen even by their very own intellectuals as effeminate and weaker than the taller and more warlike western Europeans that they usually referred to generally as Franks, the Byzantine women often preferring Frankish men to the alternative. Certainly the racial quality of the Egyptian or middle Syrian grain slave population can’t be said to be great today let alone back in Byzantine times and when the Byzantine lost these lands they immediately returned to a more Balkan and slavic facing trajectory that the Ottomans later adopted also.
    The Byzantines also employed the use of Eunuchs although again usually sourcing the boys from captured slaves instead of from volunteers as in China. Franks often found the practice to be odd when faced with it in the Byzantine courts. Narces the general eunuch who was the court competitor to the Slavic Byzantine general Belisarius in the court of Justinian, was probably the most famous of his kind. Said court was also corrupt and prone to obscure power politics as is the case in Turkey up to today.
    Its possible a rearyanised or christianised Anatolia would not have developed much different than if the Turkish half cast ascendancy had come to power of not.


    1. Anon says:

      One of your best episodes ever IMO. I’ve wondered if you guys would ever do a Kemal episode but this was even better. I will definitely look further into Turkish nationalism in the late Ottoman period more. Never knew the degree to which the Ottoman elite was a distinct subgroup as well as a strange and degenerate entity. As you said, definitely a parallel between American nationalism in the heartland and the Turk under Ottoman rule.

      As for the degeneracy and sexual practices, one of many false narratives that came out of GWOT and now the rise of homo in the west is the idea of a puritanical sexual culture in the Islamic world. Pederasty, polygamy, sodomy, etc. Knew a little of the harem but didn’t know just how institutionalized it was.

      Thanks for this.


  4. Andrew says:

    “A good portion of our audience has spent more hours than they would like to admit correcting the last 600 years of history in grand strategy games.”


    Best laugh I’ve had all week, and so true.


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